Goin' To Court
I'm glad it's going to court, and I'm hoping to see the ACLU mopped up by the judge on it.
For a quick refresher, here's how the administration has claimed the program works.
1. Intel is collected that includes phone numbers used by suspected terrorists overseas.
2. When those numbers make calls to the US the NSA intercepts them, to see what numbers they are calling here.
3. Then they see who else the numbers here have been calling.
Under the previous administration, according to the 9/11 commission, this type of data was available, but not correlated or used, because of the "stovepiping" of intelligence information. Because the calls originated overseas, the CIA would be responsible for them, but because they came into the US, the FBI should have been. Since they wouldn't allow the two, or DIA, or local police to talk about things outside their areas of operation, no one ever put together the pieces of who in terrorist networks was calling the US.
We saw where that type of work got us, didn't we.
Also keep in mind, that even since FISA, courts have ruled that warrants aren't required to monitor to the communications of terrorists and agents of foriegn governments when they originate outside the US. (see United States v. Duggan, 743 F.2d 59, 2d Cir. 1984)
I also posted in February a link to the American University Law Review, and their take on Presidential powers when it comes to this type of issue. It was published in October 2000, so it was written without the specter of this program hanging over it.
My guess is that as more of these cases go before the courts the ACLU and other groups are going to end up sorely disappointed in the results. And, I'll sleep better at night because of the program.
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